Stress can impact anyone, and workplaces are not immune.
It can be easy to minimize the impact of stress on individuals, but given how ubiquitous and harmful it can be, it’s worth taking seriously. With the real estate season heating up, let’s take a deep dive into stress, address how it shows up in the workplace and look at what organizations like Alliant National are doing to support workers.
Stress: the lesser-known facts
When you break stress down, what exactly is it? On a basic level, stress is the body’s response to a demand, the impacts of stress can be acutely felt in the workplace. Any change – good and the bad – can technically be stressful.
There are so many important things to know about stress, but some of the lesser-known facts include:
Stress affects everyone,
Not all stress is bad,
Long term stress can harm your health,
There are ways to manage stress, and
If you feel overwhelmed by stress, it’s important to reach out to a health professional.
Where does stress often show up?
While stress can be anywhere, it frequently pops up in workplaces. Stacy Stolen, HR Director for Alliant National, explains that this can have significant consequences for employees. “Workplace stress has adverse effects on workers’ mental health, with an increased risk of anxiety, burnout, depression and substance use disorders,” said Stolen. “Workers who are stressed at work are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, and poor dietary patterns.”
The negative consequences of stress aren’t just limited to employees. It can affect businesses as well. “It decreases employee productivity,” says Stolen. “Interactions with co-workers may become strained, causing increased conflict, more complaints and grievances, health concerns and higher absenteeism.”
Reducing stress begins with awareness
Given how serious stress can be, it’s obvious that there needs to be increased cultural awareness around the topic. And according to Stolen, some things are moving in the right direction: “It has become more acceptable to ‘talk’ about stress,” says Stolen, “but companies are still struggling to manage workplace stress – especially where recent layoffs may have created more stress and burnout. Companies are starting to realize this, but perks like onsite gyms and nap rooms are not the answer to our problem. Companies must go deeper.”
How can workplaces better address stress?
So, what does it look like when workplaces get serious about addressing stress? For Stolen, it means digging into the psychological reasons that are driving a stressed-out employee. “If your employees perceive your workplace as a threat, then you cannot build the trust your team needs to collaborate and innovate effectively,” she said. “Employers need to shift from individual-level to organization-level approaches for reducing stress at work, which can foster employee well-being while simultaneously improving business performance.”
Some may be quick to say this approach is unrealistic; but rest assured, it’s not. As Stolen explains, “My years of experience have taught me that burnout prevention requires reducing workplace stress while also upping employee engagement.”
What is Alliant National’s approach to stress reduction?
Under Stolen’s leadership, Alliant National has put together a plan of action to help reduce workplace stress. While the company has not yet achieved every goal, it is making good progress toward lowering the amount of stress percolating throughout the organization.
One initiative that has been making headway is the Alliant National Employee Engagement team, which is designed to help “employees feel engaged, fairly compensated, rewarded, and personally committed to and inspired by their work.”
Another goal is to actively create a culture where employees not only feel that it is permissible – but encouraged – to take time off to rest and recharge. Part of that involves constantly reminding employees that they have the freedom to take breaks, take their accrued PTO, pursue a flexible work schedule or ask for help in managing their stress.
Stolen is also working on a mental health “challenge,” where she reaches out to managers to ascertain if their direct reports have run up large PTO balances. The intention behind this initiative is to get a better sense of whether team members are actually using the time that they have earned, and if not, to understand why. This upcoming mental health and stress reduction challenge follows on the heels of one conducted in December of 2022.
There is no magic bullet against stress; but progress is possible!
When asked about how she herself manages stress, Stolen was candid: “I have no secret sauce, but what I have learned is that I need to unplug and be able to tell my boss when I am stressed and need help – not so I feel weak, but so I can be good to myself.”
In many ways, this is an effective summary of how we can all get better about managing stress in our lives and particularly in the workplace. There is no magic bullet, but with understanding, trust and open communication, real inroads can be made toward achieving more sustainable and healthy levels of stress.
Alliant National team members have an important role: to support the independent agents that help make the American Dream possible. Service is central to the field and at the core of the company’s mission. It should be no surprise that service-oriented professionals gravitate toward Alliant National, individuals compelled to make a positive impact in both their professional and personal lives.
One such group is the Alliant National Claims Team, based out of Florida, which has a long history of philanthropic activity. “In 2015, Alliant National went through the process of identifying the company’s stakeholders. One identified stakeholder was our community,” says Noemi Dedouh, Vice President and Chief Claims Council for Alliant National. “That process inspired our team to begin charitable campaigns in 2016.”
In 2016 and 2017, the Claims Team participated in two Habitat for Humanity projects. They helped build homes from the ground up in collaboration with several other departments within Alliant National, and beautified several homes in a subdivision the following year.
In 2018, the Claims Team donated time to the Ronald McDonald House charity. The team took a day during the workweek to make a home-cooked meal for the families staying at the House. Their work was supported by Alliant National as well, as the company donated all the food to the event.
2019 found the team participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Claims selected this charity in honor of a former employee whose mother had passed away from cancer. During that volunteer project, the Claims Team raised over $5,700 in donations, and the company added $1,000 toward the initiative.
This year, the Alliant National Claims Team kicked their service work into overdrive, taking on two charitable drives during the holidays. The first drive was completed during Thanksgiving. Partnering with the West Orange Foundation, which supports the communities of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, the Alliant National Claims Team raised over $2,400 to help buy food for needy families. Once again, this fundraising initiative was supplemented by Alliant National’s $1,000 donation.
In December the Claims Team partnered with Toys for Tots for its second fundraising drive. Toys for Tots is a program with a mission that has been in operation for nearly 75 years. Between donations from staff, friends, family, outside counsel, and a company donation of $1,000, the drive raised a total over $4,500. The funds will provide toys to underprivileged children, a perfect cause for the holiday season.
“Alliant National and its employees donate time and money every chance they get to local charities,” says Dedouh. “We are so grateful that Alliant National supports our local communities and that we can bring greater awareness to these important charities.”
The philanthropy practiced by its staff and supported by its leadership is a natural extension of Alliant National’s efforts to empower the independent agent. The spirit of service flows through the organization, helping people build better lives and enabling the creation of stronger communities.
Interested in participating in Alliant National’s charitable activities throughout Florida? Contact Noemi Dedouh at email@example.com.
Patrick Hagler Receives the October Research 2020 Philanthropy Award at NS3.
Denver, Colo. – (Sept. 2, 2020) Patrick Hagler, State Council-Georgia, Alliant National Title Insurance Co., has received the 2020 Philanthropy Award from October Research, LLC. The award was presented today at the 2020 National Settlement Services Summit (NS3).
The Philanthropy Award honors professionals in the title, underwriting, lending and settlement services industries for exemplary accomplishment in the area of philanthropy.
“It’s an honor to recognize Patrick Hagler for his philanthropic work outside of the office,” October Research CEO and Publisher Erica Meyer said. “We were impressed at his dedication in helping the homeless, specifically the youth, in his community.”
Currently, Hagler runs a non-profit called Loving Hands of Hope, which focuses on providing homeless teens and young adults with essential items such as clothing and hygiene kits. He is a long-time supporter of Lost and Found Youth Atlanta, an organization that facilitates counseling and other services for homeless young adults. He also volunteers with their 24-hour hotline that helps children find places to sleep and access to hot meals.
Other non-profit work includes volunteering at the Dr. Anise Mabry Foundation’s diploma program, Chris 180, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Backpack in the Park. Lastly, Hagler is a Toy Party volunteer for the Kid in All of Us organization.
Receiving this award is incredibly meaningful to me,” says Hagler, commenting on the accolade. “I was deeply affected when I started doing this work five years ago. You see people who are just looking for a little bit of compassion. Devoting some of my time to spreading warmth, love and hope is the least I can do, and I am humbled to have that work acknowledged by October Research and others in my field.”
NS3brings together more than 700 professionals from across the country for an educational experience unlike any other. For three days a roster of expert speakers and noted industry veterans share their experience with their partners across the real estate transaction.
NS3 2020 offers multiple educational tracks focused on innovation, compliance and cybersecurity. Attendees return year after year to earn CE/CLE credits, learn about the latest strategies to advance their businesses and to stay current on regulatory developments.
Alliant National distinguishes itself from competitors by combining strong underwriting capability with independent agents’ in-depth knowledge of local markets. The result is a nationwide network with deep roots in local communities, and a wealth of expertise that is flexible, nuanced, and continuously growing.
Cathie Beck Capital City Public Relation e : firstname.lastname@example.org p : 303-241-0805
ABOUT ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY
The Independent Underwriter for The Independent Agent® – Alliant National believes in empowering people to thrive.
The company protects the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance and partners with 500+ trusted independent title agents as a licensed underwriter in 25 states and the District of Columbia, with annual revenues exceeding $126 million.
Losing a child is a tragedy no parent should ever have to endure. While there are few words and even fewer comforts to be offered to those who have experienced such a loss, the team at The Compassionate Friends is doing its best to be there in the face of the unthinkable.
Sandra Harrison experienced such a loss on her wedding anniversary when her son, 26-year-old Cory Trevor Harrison, was fatally hit by a drunk driver. Though she wasn’t alone in her grief, Sandra realized that facing such a tragedy requires a community. It wasn’t until after the loss of Cory that she found The Compassionate Friends, a foundation that offers a sense of togetherness and self-help options for grieving families in need.
Since discovering the group, Sandra found a partnership and a focused purpose, within her community, all driven by The Compassionate Friends’ cause. While The Compassionate Friends, open to anyone who has lost a child, grandchild or sibling, offers self-help options to everyone near and far, it takes enough interest in one location to build a local chapter.
After three separate families contacted the organization, the Bay County, Florida chapter was founded in January 2015. Since then, the group meets every second Monday of each month. With the current pandemic, the chapter meets on a scheduled Zoom call.
The mother and grandmother will be stepping in as chapter leader of her local group in July. In the meantime, she’s shifted her focus to a memorial garden to honor her son and other children lost. With the help of local government and the other members of her chapter, including the current chapter leader, Carol Ladouceur, Sandra and other chapter members are now building the Children’s Memorial Garden.
“I don’t like going to my son’s grave,” she says. “I want to go where it’s uplifting.”
Sandra wants to help offer her community a comforting and peaceful place to go where they can honor their loved ones without the negative connotations of a graveyard. Rather than feeling surrounded by death, Sandra and her community’s organization wants to offer a place that can be a celebration of life for her lost son and the lost family members of her community.
Their bid for the garden was enthusiastically backed by local city commissioners of Lynn Haven, Florida, and other chapter members. Some families went together on benches for their loved ones, while others opted to sponsor trees, bushes and other greenery to adorn the garden. There will be cenotaph walls that will be covered in bronze plaques – a place where anyone who has lost a child, grandchild or sibling can pay to have them memorialized.
As a non-profit, the Bay County chapter had to be clever about how to go about the creation of their garden. Purchases of plaques and charitable donations go directly to the creation and upkeep of their garden. There will be a fountain for the garden, offering an added level of tranquility for those who come to honor their lost loved ones.
The Children’s Memorial Garden was set to be completed in June 2020 with a dedication. A Walk to Remember was scheduled for May 30, 2020. Anyone can donate directly via Venmo*. Sandra has devoted a large amount of her time to the project, and looks forward to seeing the garden and fountain completed. She noted that the setting – about 1000 feet from North Bay – couldn’t be any better, and hopes that others will find it as peaceful as she does.
After being founded in England over 50 years ago, The Compassionate Friends has since expanded operations in the United States. The group works in chapters, and as of today has over 600 chapters in all 50 states, Washington D.C, Puerto Rico and Guam. The Compassionate Friends’ mission statement states that “when a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.”
Sandra Harrison and her Bay County chapter are living up to that mission in spades with their current project. No one ever wants to experience loss, particularly that of a child, but the love of a supportive group and community, such as Sandra’s, proves that love can sometimes mitigate grief and shore the bereaved up when the unthinkable happens.
*To donate to the Children’s Memorial Garden, search for “Children’s Memorial Garden” on the Venmo app. Donations can be made there.
Patrick Hagler, Esq., Alliant National State
Counsel-Georgia, walks the streets of Atlanta handing out blankets, hygiene
kits, and gloves to any and all homeless teenagers he comes across. Doing so
has been his mission and passion for over five years.
Not only does he not ever see himself
stopping this philanthropic effort, he has 2020 plans to start his own
non-profit 501(c)(3) in order to broaden the scope of recipients to include
everyone–women, children, and men of all ages. “I
started volunteering with the group Lost and Found Youth in
Atlanta five years ago,” he says. “The
organization provides counseling and services to homeless youth and young
adults in the Atlanta area and surrounding region. I also work their 24-hour
hotline. Kids need a place to go, to find a meal, and this is an effort that
helps them do that.”
Patrick do it?
Patrick does it because he cannot help himself. “Doing street outreach with Lost and Found Youth and seeing all the people living on the streets affected me deeply and broke my heart,” he says. “You see these people, human beings, with sullen faces and desperate eyes just looking for some compassion. When it is cold in the winter and brutally hot in the summers, giving my time and spreading some love, human touch, compassion and hope is the least we can offer.”
might wonder if Patrick ever felt threatened or if he ever found himself in a
dangerous situation. In the five years Patrick’s been working the streets, he’s
never been afraid. “Most people I have encountered welcome the support and
only take what they need,” he says. “I have gone into places with
some reservation, sure. But showing people you are there to help and just
providing some compassion, well, any fears subside. They are living human
beings that are down on their luck.”
What began as a simple helping effort, has morphed into Patrick soliciting donations from friends and family. Those efforts now make his second bedroom a sort of ad hoc stock room. The outpouring of support from the Facebook page he currently keeps up, has been one of his biggest surprises Loving Hands of Hope @Haglershope.
“I began collecting money and then
collecting hygiene kits,” he says. “We began hitting the streets,
looking for kids in different locations where they typically stay.
“What I found so often, especially when
it’s cold,” he adds, “is that the men typically defer to the women
and children so they get into shelters first. Literally everyone is out there.
“Today I have a spare room and two cars full of stuff,” he says. “And after reaching out to friends on Facebook, their friends now donate. Alliant National is also donating 150 hygiene kits. It all began as a way to give back and it’s slowly grown.”
Patrick hopes his planned, 2020 new
organization will continue to assist not only the youth and young adults that Lost
and Found Youth of Atlanta serves, but to all people who never thought they
would be on the streets. “One of the things I have found it that not all the people
that are homeless want to be there,” he says. “They are not all
deadbeats and drug addicts just living on the streets because that’s what they
planned for their life.
“We are all just one job loss or one bad
decision from being there ourselves,” says Patrick. “There is no
demographic for the homeless. They are simply trying to